The influenza season 1993/'94 in the Netherlands and the rest of Northwestern Europe was marked by an influenza A/H3N2 epidemic. The morbidity of this epidemic was moderate, but a high mortality rate was observed. The epidemic viruses, represented by A/Netherlands/241/93 (H3N2), were characterised by haemagglutination inhibition assays and nucleotide sequence analysis. The viruses were related to A/Beijing/32/92 (H3N2), the vaccine strain for 1993/'94, but clear antigenic differences were detected. Therefore, the WHO has recommended a new A/H3N2 component, A/Shangdong/9/93, for the vaccine of 1994/'95. The onset of the epidemic was unusually early in the influenza season. An increase in the influenza activity was already noticed in the second week of November and it reached its peak in week 49. As a result of the early epidemic, the influenza vaccination programme had not been completed yet. Therefore, the point of time for vaccinating people at risk may have to be reconsidered and moved up in order to complete the vaccination programme earlier.

0 (Influenza Vaccine), English Abstract, Human, Influenza A Virus, Human/immunology/isolation & purification, Influenza Vaccine/*immunology/isolation & purification, Influenza/*epidemiology/virology, Netherlands/epidemiology, Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

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